Sukune in Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle
|Abilities||Modelling things into shapes|
|Location||Unknown, but can be occasionally seen at the Human Village|
Sukune Katano (片埜 宿禰 Katano Sukune) is a friendly yet quirky haniwa youkai that is famed as a talented artisan. They're the stage 5 boss and final stage midboss of Earthen Miraculous Sword, as well as a playable character in Reactivate Majestical Imperial and Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle.
Sukune has an energetic, positive personality, yet they're also a bit eccentric. They talk in a weird speech that they have invented themself for the sake of being creative, adding lots of verbal tics to their speech, such as "gyuu" and "nyo". Sukune is also described as a kindhearted simpleton by many people.
Despite being a talented artisan, they're secretly displeased with their creations. Because of it, they're easily manipulated by Adagumo no Yaorochi to transfer the essence of the Tasouken into a clay model.
They despise people not appreciating art or not being taken seriously. They attack the protagonist in Earthen Miraculous Sword in a fit of despair when they comment that they don't care about art or find their creations uninteresting. They're displeased with everyone finding their home to have an eccentric design (it's a haniwa-shaped house).
Despite Sukune being a light drinker who rarely drinks alcohol, they really love to open sake bottles. If you drink together with them, they'll say that they won't drink, but they'll end up "opening" a whole ton of sake bottles, and be warned that you'll be left "emptying" most of them by yourself. Plus, they usually carry around a staff that includes a bottle opener. They also like to put bottle openers in their creations, even to clay pots or weapons. Yaorochi realizes too late when in the end of Earthen Miraculous Sword, Sukune puts a bottle opener in the Tasouken.
- Modelling things into shapes
Sukune can form dirt into any shape without using any tools, and have been shown to use this ability on other substances as well, such as ice in Reactivate Majestical Imperial. Sukune's creations are technically perfect vessels for housing spirits. However, because they are able to make any shape they imagine in a flash, they lack emotional attachment and affection towards their creations and are thus unable to imbue them with their own artisan's spirit. While incapable of imbuing them with an innate spirit, Sukune also lacks the knowledge and skills to imbue a spirit into them after creation. Unable to get a spirit to dwell within their creations, Sukune believes them to be incomplete, ignorant of the fact that they are perfect vessels for housing divine spirits, such as the Tasouken.
One day, Adagumo no Saragimaru requested Sukune to make a clay sword similar to the Tasouken, but afraid of Adagumo no Yaorochi's rejection, they never went to pick it up. Yaorochi found the clay sword anyway and was entranced by it. It was then that Yaorochi feigned to be a holy servant. They lied and said that they were able to make any object house a spirit.
At the prospect of their creations becoming "complete", the haniwa immediately agreed without asking the orochi about their motives. And so, Yaorochi of course chose the sword to borrow. They couldn't actually make anything house a spirit just to transfer the energy of the original Tasouken into the clay sword. In order to transfer the soul without losing it's power, they required a "vessel". And so as a place to perform the ritual Yaorochi had Sukune prepare a huge clay "vessel". While Yaorochi prepared the ritual, they asked Sukune to wait outside, not wanting the haniwa to notice the lie. Outside, the sky was enveloped by gathering clouds, so the heroes went to fight against them in order to stop the cloudy weather.
Sukune is slightly based on Nomi no Sukune (野見宿禰), a legendary noble from the Kofun period who served under the equally legendary Emperor Suinin. He is said to be the one who first suggested the use of haniwa in burial ceremonies for Emperor Suinin's empress. This is likely where Sukune's association with haniwa comes from.
He is also said to have invented sumo wrestling when ordered to test his strength against Taima no Kehaya (当麻蹴速), this connection to sumo is referenced in Sukune's EMS theme "Haniwa Sumo ~ End of immolation". For winning his match against Kehaya, Nomi no Sukune was given a plot of land in the region of Katano (片埜) in his homeland of the Izumo Province (出雲国). There Nomi established the Katano Shrine (片埜神社), where the ancestor god of Izumo, Susanoo-no-Mikoto (素盞嗚尊), is enshrined. Notably, Susanoo is credited with slaying Yamata no Orochi, on who Orochi, Adagumo no Yaorochi & Saragimaru's ancestor, is based on.
Their full name is Sukune Katano (片埜 宿禰). Their given name Sukune (宿禰) literally means "dwelling in an ancestral shrine" and is shared with Nomi no Sukune. It's also an archaic for a "lord", an honorific title of respect for nobility, as well as the third highest of the eight hereditary titles, designated by Emperor Tenmu in 684 CE. Their family name Katano (片埜) is an actual name in Japanese that literally means "one side of the field", and references the shrine of the same name.
Sukune is shown to be short in height. They have short red hair and red eyes. They dress in a blue kimono and a brown hakama with an apron. They often wear clay ornaments, such as a clay helmet (as seen in all their appearances) and even clay wings. In various Earthen Miraculous Sword endings, they're depicted with black, hollowed eyes and mouths like a traditional haniwa.
The hammer that they carry around at times has the kanji kon (坤 こん) written on it, which is one of the Eight Trigrams, and is associated with the earth, likely a reference to Sukune's job as an artisan who mainly works with clay.
- Earthen Miraculous Sword
Sukune was tricked by Adagumo no Yaorochi into transferring the essence of the Tasouken into a clay sword, but said process made the weather in Mugenri very cloudy. Sukune didn't pay much mind to it, believing the clouds to be a secondary effect of the ritual. The heroes enter into the Ritual Site created by Sukune. The haniwa attempts to stop them, as Yaorochi instructed them to let no one interrupt the ritual. After Yaorochi is defeated, the Tasouken attacks on its own but eventually subsided thanks to a magical inscription on the clay replica used to seal its power.
After everything was cleared, Sukune reveals to them that the back of the sword acts as a bottle opener. The orochi was devastated at first, but in the end they decided that they didn't mind at all because they had the sword in their possession after centuries and it was all that mattered to them. Meanwhile, Sukune invites Yaorochi and the heroes to a sake party.
- Reactivate Majestical Imperial
There's a long, out-of-season winter due to a sudden flow of spirits. This bothers Yaorochi, who wants to find out who's responsible for it. They bring Sukune along to the Senri Shrine for answers, but after finding nothing, they decide to head out themself to resolve the incident.
Following the flow of spirits, they reached a frozen cavern along the river, where they encounter Kuroji Shitodo and Adagumo no Saragimaru. The latter doesn't want Yaorochi to recognize them, so Kuroji helps conceal their identity. Offended after Sukune casually mentions their money problem, Kuroji attacks them and forces Saragimaru as well. After defeating them, they continue their way along the river, where they find Taira no Fumikado, who was trying to collect spirits in order to resurrect the vengeful spirit Taira no Masakado and store him in their homunculus body. After defeating them, they find out that all the spirits are attracted to a certain location. Finally, they end up in the Withered Grove, where they find the chimera soul Shion, who is the avatar of the soul-eater flower Harujion. Threatened by Shion's attempt to eat their soul, the duo retaliates.
In the end, Yaorochi and Sukune arrive at the Senri Shrine, bringing Shion with them. Shion indicated that they were attracted by the essence of the shrine and stays there.
It's revealed that the spirits came to Mugenri because of a hole in the Mugenri Barrier that separates the land from the Outside World. The hole was caused by Lumen, during the Clouds Incident and Tenkai Zuifeng was tasked to repair the hole, but is taking too long. Angry for putting Mugenri at risk, Yaorochi and Sukune go to chastise Tenkai. After finding out that Tenkai is actually an apprentice, Yaorochi mocks them, only for Tenkai to remind them about the failed Tasouken ritual. On the way back home, they are ambushed by Sese Kitsugai, a youkai they had defeated at the beginning of the story. Sese absorbs the spirits the heroes had been recollecting. After Sese is defeated, the spirits leave Sese's body.
- Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle
Tenkai Zuifeng is worried about the upcoming war between the Dragonfly Army and the Imperials. They go to warn Yabusame and Tsubakura about it, but the two were already gone. On the way to the shrine, Tenkai encounters Sukune and Sese Kitsugai, who were plotting revenge on Yabusame and Tsubakura, and now they want Tenkai to help them. The barrier builder finds themself dragged by the two youkai around Mugenri, as they find out more about the war and what caused it.
In all routes, it's revealed that Tsurubami and Tenkai were either feared, hated or respected due to being the dictators of Mugenri and their immense power. Sukune doesn't understand much about what's going on and just attacks any person they consider "bad". At the end of the Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle routes, Sukune and Sese don't care much about the war between the Dragonfly Army and the Imperials. In the end, they meet Suzumi Kuzu, the one responsible for the words about the "The mirror of Heaven shall split" in order to lure Tsubakura. Suzumi reveals their intention to make Tsubakura's life a living hell and after a hard fight, Suzumi erases their memories again (with Tenkai being the only one who vaguely remembers).
As an artisan, Sukune is very sociable and knows a lot of people around Mugenri.
- Adagumo no Yaorochi
During the events of Earthen Miraculous Sword, Yaorochi manipulated Sukune into transferring the essence of the Tasouken into a clay sword (requested by Saragimaru to make Yaorochi happy) by posing as a holy servant. Despite caring about nothing but the sword and willing to hurt and manipulate people for its sake, Yaorochi did feel guilt about using Sukune. Even after discovering that Sukune revealed that said clay sword was actually a bottle opener, the two became good friends and Yaorochi forgave Sukune for the misunderstanding.
Yaorochi is a loner by nature who despises humans and weak youkai, but is friends with Sukune and after the clouds incident, both live together in Sukune's house. Despite Yaorochi's immense power, dialogue with Yabusame implies that Sukune is the more dominant in their relationship and Yaorochi acts mildly towards the haniwa.
- Tenkai Zuifeng
Sukune is one of the few Mugenri natives who doesn't fear or hate Tenkai for being one of the dictators of Mugenri. Both are in cordial terms and Sukune looks up to the barrier builder because of their strength. In Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle, it's revealed that Sukune and their peer group had the habit to nickname them the "Melon of Death" due to their clothing's color combined with their abilities.
- Tsubakura Enraku and Yabusame Houlen
Like many other, Sukune doesn't really think Tsubakura and Yabusame are doing their job as Senri Shrine priests, by being inclined towards doing things as they please instead of doing it the traditional way. Despite that and antagonizing them a few times, Sukune is still in cordial terms with Tsubakura and Yabusame and visits them at the Senri Shrine.
- Adagumo no Saragimaru
Saragimaru is the one who requested Sukune to make a replica Tasouken with clay sword in order to transfer the sword's essence into and make Yaorochi happy, Saragimaru also instructed Sukune to add a certain magical inscription onto the sword in order to restrict its power. Sukune can't remember Saragimaru's face or name and doesn't know about them being Yaorochi's sibling.
- Fujiwara no Iyozane
Iyozane once commissioned a replica Saeda from Sukune and despite defeating Fumikado and ruining Iyozane's chances to become a chief advisor, they're still on good terms.
- Sese Kitsugai
Sukune and Sese became friends after the events of Reactivate Majestical Imperial. Both teamed up in order to defeat Tsubakura and Yabusame once.
- The meaning of F.A.E.B in Sukune's bomb "F.A.E.B. 'Haniwa Bomb'" stands for Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb, a type of thermobaric weapon.
- Sukune is one of JynX's favorite characters.
- Their shot type is possibly an homage to Marisa's first shot type from Subterranean Animism. Both have similar spreads, where the unfocused variant is stronger and more concentrated than the focused, which is unique among shot types.
- Sukune has recently been making a living by selling toys they made for children in the Human Village.
Illustration of Sukune on TwitPic.
2018 Christmas Illustration used at the end of the video Androids' Christmas, also posted to Twitter.